It’s been described to me as tasting like “burnt hair” or “burnt carpet,” but despite its initial off-putting bitter taste, Chicagoans are crazy for Jeppson’s Malort. The Swedish wormwood liqueur is undergoing a Renaissance in Chicago, and is showing up in cocktails all over town and behind the bar everywhere from dives to high-end restaurants.
Saturday night is Malort Night at Paddy Long’s, where starting at 8 p.m. you’ll get to take $3 shots of Jeppson’s Malort, meet the owner Pat Gabelick, learn about the history of Jeppson’s Malort from historian Peter Strom, and participate in a slogan contest and a flavor description contest. Paddy Long’s also has a great beer selection, which is important because you’ll need to wash down the bitterness.
It’s only available in Chicago at the moment, although Gabelick told me that she’d love to start selling it in Wisconsin soon.
I’m a huge fan of Malort, and love the grapefruity bitterness that lingers for a long time on the tongue. It’s certainly not for everyone, but you can cut the bitterness by making my new favorite malort cocktail, a Malari—half malort, half Campari.
I’ll be back soon with a longer post on the history of Jeppson’s Malort, but in the meantime, if you live anywhere near Chicago, get yourself to Paddy Long’s tomorrow night.